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By Alla Afanasyeva
MOSCOW, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan has cut its oil output forecast for this year due to low world prices for its main export commodity, the Kazakh energy ministry’s spokesman told Reuters.
“Oil output is expected to reach 79.5 million tonnes in 2015,” the spokesman for the ministry said.
Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest economy and the second-largest post-Soviet oil producer after Russia, had originally planned to produce 80.5 million tonnes of crude this year.
“If sanctions imposed on Iran are lifted and it resumes oil shipments, raising oil supply by at least 1 million barrels per day, this may trigger a further fall in the oil price,” the spokesman said in a written response to questions from Reuters.
While some old oilwells in western Kazakhstan become depleted and low oil prices thwart the development of new ones, output at Kazakhstan’s giant Kashagan oilfield in the Caspian Sea is not expected to resume before late 2016 or early 2017.
Kashagan was finally launched in September 2013 after repeated delays and huge cost overruns, but output there was halted just a few weeks later after gas leaks were detected in its pipelines.
The Kazakh government does not rule out a further reduction of oil output if oil prices fall further.
Kazakhstan may cut its oil output by a tenth next year if prices drop to $30 per barrel, an energy official said this month, becoming one of the first big oil producers to acknowledge limits to its ability to withstand a battle for market share with OPEC.
Kazakhstan’s oil output fell 1.2 percent last year to 80.8 million tonnes. (Reporting by Alla Afanasyeva, writing by Gleb Gorodyankin and Dmitry Solovyov, editing by Louise Heavens; editing by Katya Golubkova)